Little Scooty, by Antonio Lupatelli

Antonio Lupatelli was an Italian children's book illustrator and author, best known under his pen name Tony Wolf. Early in his career, he has also worked as a comics artist. In his home country he worked for Il Corriere dei Piccoli, where his best known comics series was 'Ciccio Sprai' (1974-1975). He was one of the Italians working for the British publishing company Fleetway, where his text comics appeared in their children's weeklies and annuals. He was one of several artists to illustrate the comics series 'Freddie Frog' and 'Fun in Toyland'. In Italy he is however best remembered for his many book illustrations starring animals, gnomes, dragons, elves and other fairy tale characters. Among his other pseudonyms are Oda Taro, L'Alpino and Antony Moore.


Freddie Frog

Antonio Lupatelli was born in 1930 in Busseto, Italy, not far from Parma. He moved to Cremona during his childhood, where he remained for the rest of his life. It even earned him the nickname "Il Lupo di Cremona" ("The Wolf of Cremona"). Lupatelli began his career in the 1950s where he worked for the studio of the brothers Nino and Toni Pagot, who'd later become famous as the creators of 'Calimero'. In 1958 he became a storyboard artist for the French company Payot Film. As a comics artist, he joined Roy D'Ami's art studio around 1957. He was one of the artists for D'Ami's comic about little Indian 'Hayawatha' in the Italian magazine Il Corriere dei Piccoli (1957-1959, 1961-1962), along with Mario Faustinelli, Carlo Porciani and Antonio Canale. A far more durable collaboration took off around the same time when Lupatelli started working for the British publisher Fleetway, most likely also through D'Ami. Fleetway published various children's magazines, including Playhour and Jack and Jill.

Fun in Toyland, by Antonio Lupatelli

Lupatelli was one of several artists who created illustrations and text comics about children, cute animals and fairy tale characters for these publications, including Sergio Asteriti, Jim Turnbull, Peter Woolcock and Gordon Hutchings. Asteriti worked as Lupatelli's assistant. Two of the comics series he worked on were 'The Funny Tales of Freddie Frog', starring a character originally created by Peter Woolcock, and 'Fun in Toyland'. He contributed to the magazines' annual books, for which he most notably drew 'Little Sooty', a boy who is half human, half scooter, from scripts by D'Ami. In 1961 Lupatelli also illustrated 'Moony of the Moon' for the Harold Hare annuals, which told the adventures of an extraterrestrial Moon creature who now tried to live on Earth among his human friends. The feature was later drawn by British artist John Donnely.


Moony (Harold Hare Annual 1961)

By 1961 Lupatelli lent his talent the Italian publishing company Fratelli Fabbri Editori, where he created illustrations for school books and fairy tales. A notable children's book series was 'I Cuccioli' ('The Spoons'), which he signed with Tony Wolf (an anglicized version of his original name). He also worked for the monumental Italian comics magazine Il Corriere dei Piccoli, where he illustrated the comic strip 'Ciccio Sprai' (1974-1975), based on scripts written by Charles Triberti. With writer Giampaolo Barosso he furthermore created 'Robi e Robo' (1974-1975) around the same period. He also made a comics version of 'Lo Schiaccianoci' ('The Nutcracker'). From 1978 onwards Lupatelli worked almost exclusively for Dami Editore, writing and illustrating over 200 children's and toddlers' books, most notably the six-volume series 'Le Storie del Bosco' ('The Woodland Folk', 1984-1985), which contains large illustrations about a group of forest inhabitants and their encounters with giants, elves and other fairy tale creatures. Among his other books are 'Le Storie', 'Il Viaggio delle Meraviglie' (1988), 'Le più belle filastrocche' (2003), as well as the children's Bible 'Bibbia dei piccoli' (2005) and a series of "touch and feel" books. He furthermore illustrated the bedtime story series 'Piccoli racconti di animali' (1997-1998) by Pierangela Fiorani.


Pictures from the 'Piccoli Racconti di Animali' book series

One of the longest collaborations of Lupatelli's career took off with publisher Lo Scarabeo in Turin. During the 1980s he illustrated a series of tarot cards for them. One of these, 'Tarocchi degli Gnomi. I Tarocchi più piccoli del mondo' (1987), was the smallest tarot game in the world. During the same decade Lupatelli also created the seven-part children's book series 'The Woodland Folk' (1984-1985). From 1990 on he made graphic contributions to the book adaptations of the Swiss claymation TV series 'Pingu'. His artwork was also used for the audiocassette and VHS video covers. Other animal characters whose adventures he visualized in book form were the panda 'Pandi' and the bear 'Teddy'.

In March 2018 Antonio Lupatelli was a honorary jury member during an international illustration contest in Villa Grimaldi Nescio in Nervi, in which more than 860 children's book illustrators from all over the world took part. At this occasion a special retrospective book was published which reflected upon his entire career. Sadly enough the artist passed away two months later.


The Woodland Folk Meet the Giants (1984)

Series and books by Antonio Lupatelli in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

X

If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.